wmllmw’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yeah, I saw it again. I had to. Let me express my love a little better this time around.
This film is not far from being "perfect", in my eyes.
Director David Gordon Green has such a wonderful, audacious, and expressive eye when it comes to mood and setting. I don't know for sure, but I would bet that a story like this is very hard to convey. The poverty, the lifestyle of these people, is brilliantly and beautifully presented, and each character, no matter how briefly we know them for or how integral they are to the story, simply become the world that these main characters live in.
Speaking of which, a lot of the people in this film were actually locals of the areas where the film was shot. This really grounds and sinks the story into this sense of realness that's almost like a documentary. You can't always understand what people are saying, and a lot of the time characters talk over each other, making it very hard to understand what's happening, but it's not too important.
Almost every scene feels like it starts in the middle of something: the middle of a conversation, the middle of an action, even the middle of a thought in the characters mind, and what this does is almost kill the idea that a film needs to be scene upon scene thing, where something "happens", the moment ends, then onto the next scene, where something "happens", and so on... Instead, David Gordon Green gives us little bits of life, of the setting, the world, the mood, parts of scenes, tidbits of conversation, NATURAL conversation, because in real life, people don't wait for someone's full "line" to be said before saying what they have to say. It's just REAL.
I can't say I've seen many more beautiful films than Joe. Not only beauty in the visuals, but pure beauty in the storytelling. There's dark beauty, there's light beauty... fun beauty and gut twisting beauty. It's mostly a downer film, but when the essential fun parts kick in, it makes them (and the whole film) all the more savory.
People you've never heard of give performances better than most of the academy award nominees of the past 5 years. A man that should of course be mentioned is Gary Poulter. Poulter plays the father in this film, and he is captivating beyond words. His performance is partially so great because the character IS him, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this movie is not nearly as good without him. Green, who loves using locals in his film, found Poulter homeless on the street and gave him the job. Sadly, it's quite possible that Poulter saw little to none of his work on screen, for he was found dead a few weeks before it first premiered. Nevertheless, in my eyes (and hopefully the eyes of others as well) the man is forever a legend because of this, and here's to hoping that this film is talked about and remembered for quite some time. If Green continues the streak of incredible films he's on, there shouldn't be any concern.
This will be my favorite film of 2014 for a long time. If five or more films go above it on my list by the end of the year, than this will be the greatest year for movies of all time (lol).